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Catholic top-up

Gillian Shephard, the Education and Employment Secretary. has rejected a call from Tony Lloyd, Labour MP for Stretford, to intervene after a decision by a Catholic grammar school in Trafford, Greater Manchester, to ask parents to pay a Pounds 600-a-year top-up fee.

Although the school, St Bede's College, is fee-paying, the borough council pays the cost of fees for 450 pupils because there is no council-administered Catholic grammar school in the area.

The school argues the borough is not paying enough to cover the cost of the education. Trafford pays the school Pounds 2,578 per pupil annually. The other 450 pupils at the school pay Pounds 3,990.

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